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    Reishi

    Reishi

    Uses

    Common names:
    Ling Zhi
    Botanical names:
    Ganoderma lucidum

    Parts Used & Where Grown

    Reishi mushrooms grow wild on decaying logs and tree stumps in the coastal provinces of China. The fruiting body of the mushroom is employed medicinally. Reishi grows in six different colors, but the red variety is most commonly used and commercially cultivated in North America, China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea.1

    What Are Star Ratings?

    Our proprietary ?Star-Rating? system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

    For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

    3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

    2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

    1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

    This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

    Used for Why
    2 Stars
    Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
    6 mg per day for 8 weeks
    A double-blind trial found that an extract of Ganoderma lucidum mushroom was significantly more effective than a placebo in improving urinary symptoms in men with BPH.
    In a double-blind trial, an extract of Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum; 6 mg per day for 8 weeks) was significantly more effective than a placebo in improving urinary symptoms in men with BPH. Reishi extract appears to work by inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone to its more active form, dihydrotestosterone (DHT).5
    1 Star
    Altitude Sickness
    Refer to label instructions
    Reishi has been reported to be a helpful treatment for altitude sickness but this use still needs to be confirmed in well-designed human trials.
    While human research has been reported that demonstrates some efficacy for the herb in treating altitude sickness and chronic hepatitis B, these uses still need to be confirmed in well-designed human trials.6
    1 Star
    Hepatitis
    Take zinc L-carnosine supplying 17 mg zinc twice daily
    The mushroom reishi appears to be effective in treating chronic hepatitis B, according to preliminary research.

    Preliminary human research demonstrates some efficacy for the mushroom reishi in treating chronic hepatitis B; however, additional clinical trials are needed.7

    1 Star
    HIV and AIDS Support
    Refer to label instructions
    Reishi is medicinal mushroom with immune-modulating effects that may be beneficial for people with HIV infection.

    Immune-modulating plants that could theoretically be beneficial for people with HIV infection include Asian ginseng , eleuthero , and the medicinal mushrooms shiitake and reishi . One preliminary study found that steamed then dried Asian ginseng (also known as red ginseng) had beneficial effects in people infected with HIV, and increased the effectiveness of the anti-HIV drug, AZT.8 This supports the idea that immuno-modulating herbs could benefit people with HIV infection, though more research is needed.

    1 Star
    Hypertension
    Refer to label instructions
    One trial reported that reishi mushrooms significantly lowered blood pressure.

    A double-blind trial reported that reishi mushrooms significantly lowered blood pressure in humans.9 The trial used a concentrated extract of reishi (25:1) in the amount of 55 mg three times per day for four weeks. It is unclear from the clinical report how long it takes for the blood pressure-lowering effects of reishi to be measured.

    Hawthorn leaf and flower extracts have been reported to have a mild blood pressure?lowering effect in people with early stage congestive heart failure .10 In a double-blind study, supplementation with a hawthorn extract significantly decreased diastolic blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes. The amount used was 1,200 mg per day of an extract standardized to 2.2% flavonoids corresponding to 6 per day of dried flowering tops.11

    1 Star
    Infection
    Refer to label instructions
    Reishi supports the immune system in the fight against microbes.

    Herbs that support a person?s immune system in the fight against microbes include the following: American ginseng , andrographis , Asian ginseng , astragalus , coriolus, eleuthero , ligustrum , maitake , picrorhiza , reishi , schisandra , and shiitake .

    1 Star
    Type 1 Diabetes
    Refer to label instructions
    Reishi may have some beneficial action in people with diabetes.

    Animal studies and some very preliminary trials in humans suggest reishi may have some beneficial action in people with diabetes.12 , 13

    1 Star
    Type 2 Diabetes
    Refer to label instructions
    Reishi may have some beneficial action in people with diabetes.

    Animal studies and some very preliminary trials in humans suggest reishi may have some beneficial action in people with diabetes.14 , 15

    Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

    Reishi has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for at least 2,000 years.2 The Chinese name ling zhi translates as the ?herb of spiritual potency? and was highly prized as an elixir of immortality.3 Its Traditional Chinese Medicine indications include treatment of general fatigue and weakness, asthma , insomnia , and cough .4

    How It Works

    Common names:
    Ling Zhi
    Botanical names:
    Ganoderma lucidum

    How It Works

    Reishi contains several major constituents, including sterols, coumarin, mannitol, polysaccharides, and triterpenoids called ganoderic acids. Ganoderic acids may lower blood pressure as well as decrease LDL (?bad?) cholesterol . These specific triterpenoids also help reduce blood platelets from sticking together?an important factor in lowering the risk for coronary artery disease . While human research has been reported that demonstrates some efficacy for the herb in treating altitude sickness and chronic hepatitis B , these uses still need to be confirmed in well-designed human trials.16 Animal studies and some very preliminary trials in humans suggest reishi may have some beneficial action in people with diabetes mellitus and cancer.17 Two controlled clinical trials have investigated the effects of reishi on high blood pressure in humans and both found it could lower blood pressure significantly compared to a placebo or controls.18 , 19 The people with hypertension in the second study had previously not responded to medications, though these were continued during the study.

    How to Use It

    Reishi can be taken either as 1.5?9 grams per day of the crude dried mushroom, 1?1.5 grams per day in powdered form, 1 ml per day of tincture, or as a tea.20

    Interactions

    Common names:
    Ling Zhi
    Botanical names:
    Ganoderma lucidum

    Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

    At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

    Interactions with Medicines

    Certain medicines interact with this supplement.

    Types of interactions: Beneficial Adverse Check

    Replenish Depleted Nutrients

    • none

    Reduce Side Effects

    • none

    Support Medicine

    • none

    Reduces Effectiveness

    • none

    Potential Negative Interaction

    • Heparin

      As it may increase bleeding time, reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is not recommended for those taking anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medications.21

    • Warfarin

      As it may increase bleeding time, reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is not recommended for those taking anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medications.22

    Explanation Required

    • none

    The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers? package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

    Side Effects

    Common names:
    Ling Zhi
    Botanical names:
    Ganoderma lucidum

    Side Effects

    Side effects from reishi can include dizziness, dry mouth and throat, nosebleeds, and abdominal upset. These rare effects may develop with continuous use over three to six months.23 Pregnant or breast-feeding women should consult a physician before taking reishi.

    References

    1. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 255?60.

    2. Jones K. Reishi: Ancient Herb for Modern Times. Issaquah, WA: Sylvan Press, 1990, 6.

    3. Willard T. Reishi Mushroom: Herb of Spiritual Potency and Wonder. Issaquah, WA: Sylvan Press, 1990, 11.

    4. Shu HY. Oriental Materia Medica: A Concise Guide. Palos Verdes, CA: Oriental Healing Arts Press, 1986, 640?1.

    5. Noguchi M, Kakuma T, Tomiyasu K, et al. Effect of an extract of Ganoderma lucidum in men with lower urinary tract symptoms: a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized and dose-ranging study. Asian J Androl 2008;10:651?8.

    6. Hobbs C. Medicinal Mushrooms. Santa Cruz, CA: Botanica Press, 1995, 96?107.

    7. Hobbs, C. Medicinal Mushrooms. Santa Cruz, CA: Botanica Press, 1995, 96?107.

    8. Cho YK, Kim Y, Choi M, et al. The effect of red ginseng and zidovudine on HIV patients. Int Conf AIDS 1994;10:215 [abstract no. PB0289].

    9. Jin H, Zhang G, Cao X, et al. Treatment of hypertension by ling zhi combined with hypotensor and its effects on arterial, arteriolar and capillary pressure and microcirculation. In: Nimmi H, Xiu RJ, Sawada T, Zheng C (eds). Microcirculatory Approach to Asian Traditional Medicine. New York: Elsevier Science, 1996, 131?8.

    10. Schmidt U, Kuhn U, Ploch M, Hübner W-D. Efficacy of the hawthorn (Crataegus) preparation LI 132 in 78 patients with chronic congestive heart failure defined as NYHA functional class II. Phytomed 1994;1(1):17?24.

    11. Walker AF, Marakis G, Simpson E, et al. Hypotensive effects of hawthorn for patients with diabetes taking prescription drugs: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Gen Pract 2006;56:437?43.

    12. Van der Hem LG, van der Vliet JA, Bocken CF, et al. Ling Zhi-8: studies of a new immunomodulating agent. Transplantation1995;60:438?43.

    13. Jones K. Reishi mushroom: Ancient medicine in modern times. Alt Compl Ther 1998;4:256?66 [review].

    14. Van der Hem LG, van der Vliet JA, Bocken CF, et al. Ling Zhi-8: studies of a new immunomodulating agent. Transplantation 1995;60:438?43.

    15. Jones K. Reishi mushroom: Ancient medicine in modern times. Alt Compl Ther 1998;4:256?66 [review].

    16. Hobbs C. Medicinal Mushrooms. Santa Cruz, CA: Botanica Press, 1995, 96?107.

    17. Jones K. Reishi mushroom: Ancient medicine in modern times. Alt Compl Ther 1998;4:256?66 [review].

    18. Kammatsuse K, Kajiware N, Hayashi K. Studies on Ganoderma lucidum: I. Efficacy against hypertension and side effects. Yakugaku Zasshi 1985;105:531?3.

    19. Jin H, Zhang G, Cao X, et al. Treatment of hypertension by ling zhi combined with hypotensor and its effects on arterial, arteriolar and capillary pressure and microcirculation. In: Nimmi H, Xiu RJ, Sawada T, Zheng C. (eds). Microcirculatory Approach to Asian Traditional Medicine. New York: Elsevier Science, 1996, 131?8.

    20. Hobbs C. Medicinal Mushrooms. Santa Cruz, CA: Botanica Press, 1995, 96?107.

    21. Brinker F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1998,166?9.

    22. Brinker F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1998,166?9.

    23. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A (eds). American Herbal Products Association?s Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1997, 55.

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